9 August 2002

Lack of records hinders progress

FINDING solutions to problems on livestock farms is made difficult by a lack of comprehensive physical and financial performance records.

That was the message of senior consultant Margaret Griffiths on ADAS Consultings stand which focussed on finding solutions.

"We find a low level of interest in benchmarking means that there is very little recording, other than what is required by the accountant and flock movement regulations," said Ms Griffiths.

"I can understand why some producers, burdened by paperwork, find flock record-keeping a turn-off. But without much more detail it is difficult to pinpoint why a sheep enterprise is not doing as well as it might." &#42

The Farming Connect initiative in Wales, which offers producers a free consultant visit, highlighted the lack of good records.

"Participating producers have to provide their chosen consultant with accounts for three years and these frequently have no breakdown of variable and fixed costs. Even where some attempt has been made to analyse the figures, overhead costs are often lumped together and in many cases ignored."

Ms Griffiths and her ADAS colleagues urged sheep producers attending Sheep 2002 to help themselves by finding time to record information needed to cost their enterprises and make a business plan.